About me

I am a PhD Candidate in the Department of Political Science at University College London (UCL).

My PhD research focuses on internal displacement, local conflict dynamics, and territorial control in civil wars. I analyze how armed actors in civil wars respond to moving population groups within the conflict zone and how this affects patterns of violence against civilians. More broadly, I want to understand when and how civilians make their choices to flee, how we can predict the resulting patterns of forced migration, and what impact these population movements have on conflict dynamics and post-conflict situations. I predominantly use quantitative methods - such as spatial statistics and machine learning - to explain sub-national spatial and temporal patterns of violence in civil wars.

Beyond my research agenda on internal displacement and conflict dynamics, I am interested in refugee policies, statelessness, and civilian resilience in fragile settings.

I am a member of the Department’s Conflict and Change research group and the PhD network of UCL’s Migration Research Unit . I am also a consultant for the World Bank-UNHCR Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement . I completed a MSc in Security Studies at UCL and a BA in Politics and Public Administration at the University of Konstanz, Germany.

You can contact me at s.weber.17@ucl.ac.uk. My CV can be downloaded here .


I am interested in several research areas: First, I am to understand local patterns of violence and fighting during civil wars. My PhD project for example investigates how violence against civilians spreads in the context of the Iraqi civil war against the Islamic State. In other projects, I leverage spatial event data to explore how territorial takeovers by rebels affect micro-level dynamics of violence.

For more information:

Territorial takeover and event data : Do rebels target civilians as part of the process of establishing control in newly captured territory?

Second, I am interested in the dynamics of transnational and internal displacement. This research interest not only involves analysing the movement patterns of displaced populations but also assessing the social and political consequences of these population relocations. I aim to understand how internal displacement affects territorial control by armed actors in civil wars, how cycles of repeated displacement and violence emerge, and under which conditions civilians return to their places of origin.

For more information:

Dissertation research : How do armed actors respond to population movements during civil wars?

Thirdly, I investigate how civilians interact with each other during times of violence, when they make individual decisions to flee or stay, and how non-combatants built up resilience and develop coping strategies to deal with political violence. This includes a range of (survey) experiments in (post-)conflict settings to understand the willingness to support each other in civil wars, or to understand how social networks affect individual-level flight decisions.

For more information:

IDP hosting preferences : How does past exposure to violence and displacement affect the willingness to help others by hosting displaced persons?

Forced migration decision-making : How do individuals decide to flee and how do patterns of violence affect these decisions?

Publications & Working papers


Hartman, Alexandra, Benjamin Morse and Sigrid Weber. 2021. “Violence, Displacement and Support for Internally Displaced People: Evidence from Syria”. Journal of Conflict Resolution. Article , Request access.

Oswald, Christian, Melanie Sauter, Sigrid Weber, and Rob Williams. 2020. “Under the Roof of Rebels: Civilian Targeting After Territorial Takeover in Sierra Leone.” International Studies Quarterly 64 (2): 295–305. Article , Blog post , Request access.

Under review

Oguzhan Turkoglu and Sigrid Weber. “When to go? - A conjoint experiment on social networks, violence and forced migration decisions in Eastern and Southeastern Turkey. Under review.


I am a post-graduate teaching assistant for the second-year undergraduate module “International Security” at the UCL Department of Political Science. I also support the teaching of quantitative methods for master students at UCL with workshops on data manipulation in R.

I have previously taught several undergraduate classes as teaching assistant at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, University of Konstanz:

  • Introduction to International Relations and European Integration
  • Introduction to Policy Analysis
  • Empirical Research Methods
  • Introduction to Comparative Politics